Hand in Hand - breaking the cycle of poverty
Hand in Hand is a sponsorship program that supports the most desperate and vulnerable children and the inspiring people who care for them. Our model enables the children to live with dignity by growing up in their local community. Some children are lucky enough to have a living parent, although often sick, but many are cared for by grandmothers, neighbours and relatives. This enables the children to grow up in caring homes, attend their local schools, have better nutrition and remain connected with their community. Our model is internationally recognised as the best way to care for orphan and vulnerable children.
Sponsorship provides the children with access to food, shelter, education, medical care, grief counselling and HIV/AIDS education. As the children grow they also participate in a range of programs designed to improve their confidence and lifeskills, encouraging them to take advantage of the special opportunities available through the Hand in Hand program. Opportunities like the chance to finish school, gain vocational skills and find safe employment.
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Life skills - cultural learning
The children we work with face considerable ostracism and discrimination from their local community. The Cultural Learning Program uses theatre to engage and empower participants to tell their life stories and educate the community about the issues they face. In mid-2006 this program culminated in a highly successful production called ‘Voices of Youth’ which toured around Ethiopia.
Through the program young people also have the opportunity to become theatre instructors. More recently the program has expanded to include a story-telling component to engage younger children in traditional stories that build cultural literacy and explore contemporary social issues affecting them.
Our program is recognised as a powerful model for building the self-esteem that allows children to become confident and healthy young adults.
Promoting child rights
Many children in Ethiopia face daily violations of their basic rights, including violence and abuse at school. Our Child Rights Project involves educating children, caregivers and the general community on child rights. It also provides the children and caregivers with access to legal advice and advocacy. The best protection for vulnerable children is through education. This means the caregivers are better able to protect and promote the rights of children.
Building a local school
Hope for Children currently plans to build a community school in Addis Ababa. Based on a successful African model, the school will set an example in Ethiopia of how to achieve high standards of education in desperately impoverished communities. The school will actively involve parents and the wider community in the education of the children.
The school will also be used to run programs to benefit the wider community such as classes in adult literacy, basic business, sexual health and parenting skills.
Establishing a new restaurant – vocational training for hospitality
One of the biggest challenges for young people is finding employment that takes them from sponsorship to self-sufficiency. Hope for Children plans to establish a restaurant in Addis Ababa to be used as a training facility that enables young people to gain hospitality skills. These skills will help create a bridge into the fast-growing tourism and hospitality industry in Ethiopia.
This model has proven to be highly successful in helping young people to gain vocational skills, experience and self-worth through employment.
Expanded sexual health program
In 2005, Hope for Children piloted an extremely successful sexual health education program called Let’s Talk About Sex. The program targeted children aged over 12 years and their families through a series of workshops that covered a range of topics, including relationships, pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections and female circumcision.
The response to the workshops was overwhelmingly positive and it became a core part of our program. In 2008, Hope for Children plans to expand Let’s Talk About Sex as well as training local teachers and healthcare workers to teach sexual and reproductive health.